I just returned from three days of backpacking in the Lusk Creek Wilderness Area of Shawnee National Forest. It was my first backpacking trip since March, and my first since my "hiker's knees" were actually diagnosed as arthritis. Steps I took to prepare included 1) physical therapy, 2) adding trekking poles, 3) adding better arch support to my shoes, and 4) lightening my backpack SIGNIFICANTLY (My base weight was 12lbs. With food, water, & fuel, I just weighed in at 20lbs.)
IT WORKED! We put in about 30 miles over 3-days on hilly, uneven terrain. The first day we did 12.5 miles, with lots of steep ascents & descents, switchbacks, & mudholes to navigate around. My knees never bothered me once. In fact, I've never felt so good after a multi-day trip. Going UL (or near UL) made a HUGE difference in multiple areas. For one, I noticed I didn't groan every time I shouldered my pack. Second, my shoulders were never sore. Third, I didn't spend my day readjusting my pack for comfort. Once it was on, I could focus all my attention on hiking, not on discomfort.
My experiment with Foil Bag Cooking was a great success. We ate delicious, hot meals every night, and it only required boiling a cup or two of water. The only cleanup was to lick my spoon clean (and stick it in boiling water at the next meal).
Powdered Peanut Butter???? We discussed it in the forums. I tried it on the trail. I started a video review of it on the trail. You'll get my opinion in a few days.
I took a lot of pictures (see below), made a video (which I'll post later), and reviewed a bunch of gear (I've got to put all that together).
It was a great time on the trail, with the key thought, "Arthritis will not keep me from hiking the AT in 9.5 years!"